Lee Akst, M.D.

Lee Michael Akst, M.D.

Headshot of Lee Akst
  • Director of the Johns Hopkins Voice Center
  • Associate Professor of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery


Dysphagia, Dysphonia, Early Glottic Cancer, Gender Affirming Care, Hoarseness, Laryngeal Disorders, Laryngeal Dysplasia, Laryngeal Papilloma, Laryngeal Stenosis, Laryngopharyngeal Reflux, Otolaryngology, Otolaryngology (ENT), Pharyngitis, Phonotraumatic Lesions, Recurrent Respiratory Papillomatosis, Subglottic Stenosis, Sulcus Vocalis, Swallowing Disorders, Transgender Voice Care, Vocal Cord Cysts, Vocal Cord Nodules, Vocal Cord Paralysis, Vocal Cord Paresis, Vocal Cord Polyps, Voice Feminization Surgery, Voice Masculinization Surgery, Voice Problems ...read more

Research Interests

Robotic laryngeal surgery; Voice and swallowing outcomes of neuro-otologic skull base procedures; Use of pulsed lasers for treatment of laryngeal disease; Functional recovery of recurrent laryngeal nerve injury; Treatment of vocal fold scar ...read more

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Outside of Maryland & Washington D.C.

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Johns Hopkins Outpatient Center (now called Levi Watkins, Jr., M.D., Outpatient Center)

Appointment Phone: 443-997-6467
601 N. Caroline St.
Baltimore, MD 21287 map
Phone: 410-955-1654 | Fax: 410-367-2300

Johns Hopkins Medicine - Green Spring Station

Appointment Phone: 443-997-6467
10803 Falls Road
Pavilion III, Suite 2500
Lutherville, MD 21093 map
Phone: 410-955-1654 | Fax: 410-367-2300


Lee Akst, M.D., specializes in treating the larynx (voicebox), in particular the treatment of voice and swallowing disorders. He is a leading laryngologist in office-based procedures such as vocal fold injection augmentation, pulsed KTP laser treatment, and laryngeal botox injection. 

In the operating room, Dr. Akst specializes in phonosurgery for the treatment of vocal cord disease, with emphasis on voice restoration and improvement. A strong focus of his practice involves the use of pulsed angiolytic lasers, which allow for subspecialized care of laryngeal papillomas, laryngeal dysplasia, and early vocal cord cancers while preserving the quality and strength of the voice.

Dr. Akst is a national leader in the field of laryngology and serves in leadership roles for the American Laryngological Association, the American Broncho-Esophagological Association, and the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery. He lectures extensively on the treatment of laryngeal disease, teaching other physicians how to care for patients with voice and swallowing concerns.  

His research interests include the development of robotic laryngeal surgery, the study of voice and swallowing complaints in the elderly, and the advancement of pulsed lasers for the treatment of laryngeal diseases with a focus on leukoplakia.

This provider is registered with the Florida Department of Health to perform telehealth services for patients in Florida.

...read more


  • Director of the Johns Hopkins Voice Center
  • Associate Professor of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery

Departments / Divisions

Centers & Institutes



  • MD; Yale School of Medicine (1999)


  • Otolaryngology; Cleveland Clinic Foundation (2005)


  • Laryngology; Massachusetts General Hospital (2006)

Board Certifications

  • American Board of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery (Otolaryngology) (2006)

Research & Publications

Selected Publications

View all on PubMed

Best SR, Starmer HM, Agrawal Y, Ward BK, Hillel AT, Chien WW, Francis HW, Tamargo RJ, Akst LM. Risk Factors for Vagal Palsy following Cerebellopontine Angle Surgery. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2012 Mar 23.

Starmer HM, Best SR, Agrawal Y, Chien WW, Hillel AT, Francis HW, Tamargo RJ, Akst LM. Prevalence, characteristics, and management of swallowing disorders following cerebellopontine angle surgery. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2012 Mar;146(3):419-25.

Olds K, Hillel AT, Cha E, Curry M, Akst LM, Taylor RH, Richmon JD. Robotic endolaryngeal flexible (Robo-ELF) scope: a preclinical feasibility study. Laryngoscope. 2011 Nov;121(11):2371-4.

Akst LM, Broadhurst MS, Burns JA, Zeitels SM. Microflap laryngosplasty for treating an anterior-commissure web with papillomatosis. Laryngoscope. 2007 Aug;117(8):1496-9.

Burns JA, Zeitels SM, Akst LM, Broadhurst MS, Hillman RE, Anderson R. 532 nm pulsed potassium-titanyl-phosphate laser treatment of laryngeal papillomatosis under general anesthesia. Laryngoscope. 2007 Aug;117(8):1500-4.

Lee WT, Milstein C, Hicks D, Akst LM, Esclamado RM. Results of ansa to recurrent laryngeal nerve reinnervation. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2007 Mar;136(3):450-4.

Zeitels SM, Burns JA, Akst LM, Hillman RE, Broadhurst MS, Anderson RR. Office-based and microlaryngeal applications of a fiber-based thulium laser. Ann Otol Rhinol Laryngol. 2006 Dec;115(12):891-6.

Broadhurst MS, Akst LM, Burns JA, Kobler JB, Heaton JT, Anderson RR, Zeitels SM. Effects of 532 nm pulsed-KTP laser parameters on vessel ablation in the avian chorioallantoic membrane: implications for vocal fold mucosa. Laryngoscope. 2007 Feb;117(2):220-5.

Kobler JB, Rosen DI, Burns JA, Akst LM, Broadhurst MS, Zeitels SM, Hillman RE. Comparison of a flexible laryngoscope with calibrated sizing function to intraoperative measurements. Ann Otol Rhinol Laryngol. 2006 Oct;115(10):733-40.

Videos & Media

Play Video:

Diagnosing and Treating Voice Disorders: Johns Hopkins Voice Center (Q&A)

Recent News Articles and Media Coverage

Miller Coulson Academy of Clinical Excellence Dr. Lee Akst: A Closler Look (4-3-2019)

Webinar Best Practices for a Healthy Voice (4/3/2017)

Advancing Treatments Help People Find Their Voices Again, TribeLive (4/25/16)

Is Vocal Fry Ruining My Voice? 4/12/16)

Patient Ratings & Comments

The Patient Rating score is an average of all responses to physician related questions on the national CG-CAHPS Medical Practice patient experience survey through Press Ganey. Responses are measured on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the best score. Comments are also gathered from our CG-CAHPS Medical Practice Survey through Press Ganey and displayed in their entirety. Patients are de-identified for confidentiality and patient privacy.

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